EDF announced that a leak of tritium – a radioactive isotope of hydrogen – occurred in mid-December at the Tricastin power plant site due to the overfilling of a sump. According to EDF, this event is “without health consequences”.

In a December 21 press release, EDF declared that the Tricastin Nuclear Power Generation Center (CNPE) had reported a “significant event for the environment” on December 15 to the Nuclear Safety Authority ( ANSN).

In detail, EDF explains that on December 11, 2021 “tritium activity was detected on one of the piezometers [groundwater control wells] of the order of 8000bq / l [becquerel per liter], with a peak measured at 28,900 Bq / l on December 12, 2021 ”. “The values ​​observed on this piezometer located in the geotechnical enclosure are now on the decline, around 11,000Bq / l”, specifies the text.

According to Mediapart, which noted the incident, the “normal amount of tritium in uncontaminated groundwater is between 1 and 2 bq / l”.

EDF specifies for its part in its press release, that this “event has no health consequences”, because the groundwater is separated from the water table by a geotechnical enclosure made up of concrete walls and “cannot in any case mix”.

According to the management of the power plant, the leak is due to the overfilling of a sump that let escape 900 liters of effluent (wastewater) which flowed into the rainwater collection network, then infiltrated into the groundwater which is located under the power plant.

This water is theoretically trapped and cannot spread in the environment. The ANSN, specifies Mediapart, estimated that the pollution had remained “confined within the geotechnical enclosure” and classified the incident “at level zero on the international scale of INES nuclear events”. The material should remain present for a few months, says France Bleu. A similar incident was reported to Tricastin at the end of 2019.

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